Soccer

Michael Carrick hails Middlesbrough ‘mentality’ to shut out cup distractions

Carrick was full of praise for Morgan Rogers after his winner against West Brom.

Middlesbrough manager Michael Carrick saw his side beat West Brom .
Middlesbrough manager Michael Carrick saw his side beat West Brom Middlesbrough manager Michael Carrick saw his side beat West Brom . (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Michael Carrick praised his players for not getting distracted by their Carabao Cup exploits as Middlesbrough rounded off an impressive week with a deserved 1-0 win over West Brom.

Boro beat Port Vale in midweek to reach the last four of the League Cup for the first time since winning the competition 20 seasons ago and have a two-legged tie with Chelsea to look forward to in the new year.

But Carrick is determined to ensure league form does not suffer and was delighted after his side’s victory over Albion as Boro closed the gap on the Championship’s top six to three points.

“Naturally after Tuesday and the highs and the draw and people talking about Chelsea, I thought our mentality was top quality to reset and start again and put a top performance in,” Carrick said after Morgan Rogers’ first-half goal secured a third successive win in all competitions.

“There was so much to take from it. It was a proper performance and a proper win.

“It’s been an excellent week and for different reasons. The battling performance at Swansea wasn’t pretty, but we found a way to win. The boys showed plenty of courage to do that.

“The performance in midweek was totally different. It was a different environment and a very good performance for what we needed on that occasion.

“And then today, I felt we showed a bit of all sorts against a really good team. The boys will take a lot from it, I’m sure.”

Rogers, a summer signing from Manchester City, has played most of his football as a substitute so far for Boro this season but was handed a start after impressing and scoring against Port Vale in midweek.

He scored the winner against Albion five minutes before half-time and created a string of opportunities after the break as Boro pushed for more goals.

Carrick said: “He creates, he’s dangerous. He’s a huge talent. He’s fantastic to work with, he wants to learn and get better all the time and is desperate to give what he can for the team which is brilliant.

“He’s got a terrific attitude for the game and is showing his quality.

“You can see he’s growing here, he’s at home here and belongs here and you can see him growing all the time.”

West Brom remain fifth in the table but have now won just one of their last five games.

Boss Carlos Corberan had no complaints about the outcome at the Riverside.

He said: “I think the result was fair. I saw Middlesbrough in general were better than us. The early stages were balanced and we had a couple of possibilities to score a goal, but they made us defend deeper and found a way to attack us.

“When we did break their press we couldn’t create something. In the second half we needed to be more aggressive but couldn’t find the energy.

“Little by little Middlesbrough found a way to move us deeper. In the second half it was clear we needed to react and be more aggressive, but we lost the ball too often and they were comfortable defending against us.

“I like how Middlesbrough attack and defend. They will be fighting for the play-off positions because they have a very good squad with a very good coach.”